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Tree Felling on a Commercial Scale

From William Getty

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Sorry to tell you but I was very upset the other day last Wednesday as I came back from the Halifax hospital heading to Hardcastle Craggs to go up the little road through the area to Walshaw. 

There was a truck from a logging firm at Keighley, parked below the wood next to the old dye works. 

They had already cut several dozen very old very large beautiful trees ready to take away for firewood. 

I couldn't believe my eyes especially when the TV is full of documentary bits telling us we need more trees. 

The current National Trust people are pursuing vandalism on a massive scale in the Craggs woodlands. 

This woodland is not a 'theme park', and there are thousands of desolate treeless acres up the tops of the hills in every direction so what possible justification can there be for this. 

The deer in the woods are finding it difficult to shelter from loose dogs due to the severe thinning of trees and saplings, and there are large areas of topsoil erosion all along the Gibson Mill driveway caused by the stripping out of everything growing there.

I heard from a specialist flood consultant who was working for Rivers Authority inspecting the remedial works in Mytholmroyd, that upland trees need a lot of water and by removing them and the saplings it creates way more flow of rain further down any valley.

I have lived in Walshaw for over 30 years and Mr Henry (Lord Savile's brother) proudly told me over two decades ago that when the land was originally given to the Trust it was on the strict instruction that they would never cut a living tree.

Who actually cares if a tree is an indiginous one or not when it has stood proudly for hundreds of years to be sacrificed for the whim of some lunatic with a chainsaw. 

From Ms. P. Finch

Sunday, 17 January 2021

There are many more groves of elderly Beech in Calderdale that are magnificent and possibly threatened by chain saws.

They have character & landscape value, as well as having value as venerable trees for wildlife. 

If left to die a natural death & managed as needed ( safety ) surely this is a better way than replacing them with young saplings of other species that will take many years to attain valuable carbon capture and won't suck up water in the way old trees do. Ecologists will always have to weigh up the greater good – in this case  it has become too purist an argument in one direction. 

From Andy M

Monday, 18 January 2021

Selective tree felling is a standard part of healthy woodland management and the National Trust have a woodland management plan you can look at here

If it doesn't happen the woodland structure can suffer reducing the mosaic of habitats, hampering succession and thus damaging the long term survival of the woodland. It may look drastic at the time but if done carefully it's usually the best option for the future of the woodland.

From Philip Marshall

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

My comments in the Pecket Well Clough destruction thread are relevant here.

I understand and agree with the Woodland Management plan and have read the update issued by the National Trust on 21st Jan. I am confident the management will give good results but more clarity on details would help.

I remain uncertain if any of the older trees are being assessed as suitable for Veteran Tree status. This is different to leaving standing dead wood monoliths, welcome though this is. Is there a process to decide which of the trees are to be felled within a % thin area?

Is suitable time being given for monitoring whether self-seeding is taking place, which would be of local provenance and much hardier in growth. This waiting time is required in the plan and maybe a more attractive natural spacing would occur? 

What is the management plan for these newly planted trees? For instance, is there provision for space and light which Oak trees require if side branches and acorns are to be expected? Oak is by nature a pioneer tree and as such needs sunlight and no constraints.

On a final point, Craig Best says the management will help reduce tree disease. I'm not sure what is meant by this. Ash Dieback cannot be reduced by the removal of affected trees but perhaps he had something else in mind.

But, well done for managing the woodland. It is what happens next where the real work begins and I wish all success.

From Ms NC Goddard - Clerk to Wadsworth Parish Council

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Wadsworth Parish Council has invited a representative from the National Trust at Hardcastle Crags to discuss the current woodland management plans at the Council's January meeting. The meeting takes place on-line at 7.30pm Tuesday 26th January 2021.

Please email wparish@hotmail.com for a copy of the agenda and Zoom meeting link

From Ms. P. Finch

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

There is more to this than just cold facts and clinical analysis no matter how well argued.

The aesthetics, landscape value & dare I mention it spirit of the wood have just as much value.

We all need to walk in nature especially in these tough times, without seeing it being destroyed in front of our eyes. Yes it is an emotive subject, that is hurtful to many.

Two venerable beech near me, have been the sentinels of the clough for many years. 

At one time they were threatened with felling for the very same reasons being argued here. 

Over 25 years later they are still standing & much valued for their grandeur & venerable age.

If & when they do fall naturally, their branches will be rich pickings for wildlife and also contribute to slow the flow in the clough.

See also:

HebWeb News: Work continues on woodland at Hardcastle Crags (18 Jan 2021)

HebWeb Forum: Pecket Well Clough destruction